Horse & Hound's coverage of The Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting (24-28 June) is brought to you in association with Equestrian.com

Guy Williams and Depardieu van’t Kiezelhof (pictured) scooped the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard on the first day of international classes at the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby meeting (25-28 June).

The British showjumper, who recently moved to France, was pleased to return to home soil and winning at his favourite show made it all the more worthwhile.

Guy rode the 12-year-old grey gelding by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve to victory in the hotly contested class.

“I like to win at home and I’ve been away for a bit — I moved to France to concentrate on my job more,” Guy told H&H. “This is my favourite show.”

20 of the 49 combinations made the jump off and 19 presented (William Funnell and Billy Congo opted out).

Shane Breen  was second-to-last to go, but narrowly missed out on the top spot with Farao van’t Vennehof.

Irish riders dominated the first international class of the show, the Stoner Jewellers Vase.

Richard Howley and Verlindo, a 13-year-old gelding by Numero Uno, took the premier position and fellow Irish rider Michael Duffy took second place.

“It’s super to win a class at Hickstead, especially being a four star, it’s my first four-star win,” said Richard.

“I will jump him in the Derby Trial tomorrow.”

National classes

Douglas Duffin secured an impressive one-two in the Spillers Grade C Championship and was the only rider to go clear in the class.

The Scottish showjumper took the premier position in the single-phase championship with Djoel, a seven-year-old chestnut gelding by Hamlet.

Douglas was last to go with his second ride, eight-year-old Beechfields Mastermind, who also finished with a clear round, but was slower than Djoel against the clock.

“It’s a great start to the week. Hickstead’s my favourite show — I love coming here and winning in the main ring so hopefully it continued for the rest of the show,” said Douglas.

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Julian Mincher was on flying form in the Hickstead Novice Championship and won the class with six-year-old Eindhoven G H, a Valiant bay gelding.

“Yesterday I had him in a new bit so I didn’t go too crazy, but today it’s the championship so you want to win it,” said Julian.

“He is a very competitive horse and he likes to win.”

Nicole Pavitt and Shahenaz took the Camardo Coffee 1.35m Open Championship securing one of only two clears in the single-phase championship class.

The grey 10-year-old mare by Shilano Z completed a speedy clear almost five seconds faster than Emily Whiteside who was placed second with Tarzan III.

“Emily produced a really nice clear round and I knew it wasn’t overly quick and my mare’s quite quick so I didn’t push her too much,” said Nicole. “But I knew I had Trevor [Breen], Joss [Williams] and Douglas [Duffin] after me so I knew I had to do enough to keep them from beating me.”

Keep an eye out for further updates from the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby meeting on horseandhound.co.uk. Also, don’t miss full coverage and insight in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out next Thursday (2 July)